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Tour Kilimanjaro


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Summit Alpine Desert Moorland Heath Rain Forest Cultivated Areas

Ecologically, Africa's tallest peak is a world in miniature. On what other mountain can you journey from dry fields and farms into steaming jungles, then up through exotic heaths and moorlands to an alpine desert and finally a glaciated summit? Each of Kilimanjaro's six distinct ecological zones has its own climate and coterie of flora and fauna. Beginning with the band of rain forest that girdles the mountain's base starting at about 6,000 feet, this microcosmic Gaia gets gradually drier, cooler, and more inhospitable to plants, animals, and people as one ascends to the sparkling summit at 19,340 feet.

To get a sense of what distinguishes each zone, click on the diagram at left. By the end, if nothing else, you'll know what kinds of clothes you'd need to bring for an ascent (hint: all of them).—Peter Tyson

   

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